Tag Archives: Peggy

Andrea with South Dakota farmers Peggy and Brad Greenway in front of their tractor at harvest.

Chatting Sustainability and Food Safety with The Greenways and Hungry For Truth

It’s always a pleasure to sit down and open up a conversation about food and farming with South Dakotans and the farmers who grow it. In fact, that’s what Hungry for Truth is all about. True to our mission, we had another wonderful opportunity of connecting, Iowa native and speech pathologist/feeding and language specialist, Andrea Boerigter with soybean farmers, Peggy and Brad Greenway of Mitchell, South Dakota to talk harvest, sustainability, food safety and animal care. They spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon together filled with good conversation and farm education. Today, Andrea is sharing her perspective of her recent South Dakota farm visit.   

This Sunday I was fortunate enough to visit and learn about one of South Dakota’s family owned farms.  I was promised an experience of learning about everything that goes into the inner workings of a farm: from the manure being knifed into the field all the way to the meat being butchered.  I absolutely got what I was promised, but I got a whole lot more.

Peggy teaches Andrea about corn in the field.

The moment Peggy opened her front door and invited me to sit down with her, I entered a world I have not been in since my childhood.  She spoke about her husband being in the field with harvest and her daughter bringing him out lunch. She talked about walking through the pig barns and being thankful it has been dry enough to be in the field.  I had been part of all of these conversations before. I had heard these words from my grandparents. I also saw the same love and passion for her crops and animals as I had seen in my grandparents’ eyes. Because to be a farmer, you have to love it.  It is too hard to do it if you don’t love it.

That part of farming has stayed the same.  However, so much of it is different. This is where it gets fuzzy for me.  This is where I needed to learn…a lot.

In my childhood, I recall a much smaller combine.  The pigs were moved from outdoor cement pads to smaller barns throughout the year to protect them from elements.  I recall all of this somewhat – what I mostly remember is when my grandpa let me bring a baby pig into the house and put doll clothes on it.  My mother assured me she was never allowed to do such things.

So it was time to ask questions.  And let me tell you, if you have questions – Peggy and Brad are the people to ask.  They are a wealth of knowledge and so passionate. They speak about not wanting to change anyone’s mind about what they eat, but they want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn about what they do on their farm.  I could not agree with them more.

Brad talks with Andrea about his farm in South Dakota.

Because I could rant and rave about this amazing day forever, I decide to walk you through each part of the process – just like they did with me.

We started at the house, me asking a million questions, Peggy having a million answers.  She spoke about their mission – Sustainability and responsibility. She said “It is responsible for us to grow as much food as we can with as little effect on the land as possible.”  She also spoke about how making changes to their farm are not done without great thought. They do not just throw up a hog barn, they use local companies for concrete and equipment, as well as the companies that build the barns.  I take so much comfort knowing that people growing my food put this much thought into things like this. It means they are putting even more into my food.

Andrea watches Brad in the combine.

From the house we headed out to the field to get in on some harvest action.  I had not been in a combine since I was 5. Holy moley, have those things changed!  After talking about the field and the acres and process, Brad invited me to hop on up for a ride.  Did you know they have a computer that tells them exactly where to put what?! My grandpa did not have one of these.  Different colors on their screen indicate where weak spots in the field are and where they should use less seeds or more seeds.  They are able to mark spots that have rocks and even use their technology to decide how much of what kind of fertilizer goes where.  Yeah…that is a thing! They have their manure tested to make sure it is at safe levels and then they use certain types of their manure on specific areas of land.

Along with that computer telling them where to put what, it also measures what is coming up as Brad combines.  They know exactly how many bushels they are getting from each area. This allows them to be more specific when they plant again next year.  They work with an agronomist to make final decisions on their fields, but without this technology, a lot of resources would be wasted.

Brad shows Andrea how they use technology in the combine to farm sustainably.

Now that we covered how they built their farm, how they plant, grow and harvest their crops, we had one last stop.  The hog barn. And I love pigs. I was one happy lady to be ending this amazing day at a hog barn. This was one fancy operation.  When we entered the pig barn, we came into a small office. In the office we saw binders, pipes, rules, regulations, and a bunch of buttons (at which point I thanked God my kids weren’t with me to push).  To keep the pigs healthy – and happy – they are inside year round. They are not only shielded from the cold, but also from the heat. The barn provides them with heaters, fans, and even misters in the summer.  Peggy explained that the books were all records of each health check and walk through. They have a vet monitor their hogs and must keep very specific records for the state. This assures that hogs are being taken care of to the best possible degree.

A group of pigs on the Greenway farm.

A few questions I wanted to ask Peggy were about hormones, vaccinations, and antibiotics. She informed me no pig is given hormones, so that wasn’t something anyone needed to be concerned with.  (Check that off our list of things to worry about.) Vaccinations are something every animal on her farm gets, and they are very similar to the type we give our children.  As for antibiotics, she explained that when hogs become sick, they do treat them. But they only do this when necessary. Peggy stated “Vaccinations are something we do to keep pigs healthy.  Antibiotics are different. We do not want to use antibiotics unless we need to. They are expensive and cause a lot of added paper work.” She also went on to explain that when given antibiotics, like all other animals being raised on farms, there is a period of time where the animal has to stay healthy and the antibiotics must leave the animal’s system before being brought to market.

Peggy gives Andrea a hug at the end of their tour.

And this ends my tour.  I have to say, I learned a lot.  I am not only taking away exceptional pieces of information for my own children, but so much for the families I work with as well.  I feel prepared to offer suggestions and answer questions about the process of our foods and what the best choices are for the children I provide feeding therapy for.  I also encourage any parent – with any questions – to go straight to the source. Farmers are the only people that know how the food is being produced. No one else. So, when in doubt, ask a farmer.

It was so amazing to see everything that has changed in the past 20 some years since I last rode in a combine and played with a baby pig.  What was even more amazing was to see that the love a farmer has for their farm hasn’t changed a bit.

Andrea Boerigter smiles with her two sons.

About Andrea Boerigter 

Andrea Boerigter is a mom, wife, pediatric speech, language, and feeding therapist, owner of Bloom Indoor Play Center, and blogger.  Andrea grew up in small town Iowa where she was fortunate to watch her grandfather and uncles farm as well as participate in 4-H showing pigs.  She is passionate about helping families bring peace and knowledge to the dinner table through feeding therapy and education. Andrea spends every spare minute she has exploring the world with her children, Hank and Gus.  Andrea currently lives in Sioux Falls but takes her children back to that small town Iowa life any opportunity she has.

Website: www.thespeechmom.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thespeechmom

Hungry for Truth Farm-to-Fork Dinner 2017

Enjoy an Exclusive Look at Hungry for Truth’s Farm-to-Fork Dinner

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth so much more. Here’s a look at the exclusive Hungry for Truth Farm-to-Fork dinner festivities, which brought farmers and community members together during an unforgettable summer evening on the farm. From the local food and the chic décor to great questions and conversations, the evening set the table for sharing stories about South Dakota agriculture.

This video gives you a glimpse at the annual event, which brings real South Dakotans and farmers together to enjoy food that’s grown safely and sustainably on real local farms.

 

 

Our next dinner is coming up in June. Stay tuned to find out how you can get an invite to this event from South Dakota soybean farmers. We’ll be sharing news soon with our newsletter subscribers and on social media. Be sure you’re part of our community so you don’t miss out. In the meantime, see photos and read about activities from past events in these blogs.

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Conversation With Cynthia Mickelson

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Connects South Dakotans Through Conversations and Local Foods

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Brings Sioux Falls Urbanites to the Farm

 

South Dakota Farm Animals Hungry for Truth

Fall in Love With South Dakota Farm Animals

Many South Dakota farmers would say their favorite part of farming is working with their animals. Local farm animals are well-loved by their owners, which shows in the quality of the eggs, milk and meat they create for your family.

Take the happy cows at Marty Neugebauer’s farm, just north of Dimock. Marty’s farm is one of four dairies that provide the milk to make Dimock Dairy’s delicious assortment of cheeses, curds and spreads South Dakotans love.

Marty knows delicious cheese comes from happy, comfortable cows that are fed a healthy diet. Most of South Dakota’s 117,000 dairy cows enjoy a protein-rich diet of soybean meal, 31,000 tons of it each year to be exact. This nutritious feed typically comes from GMO soybeans. Both GMO and conventional crops are nutritionally equal, and planting GMO seeds allows farmers to grow food more sustainably by using less water, fertilizer and pesticides.

 

Picture of cows from Marty's farm

 

Cows aren’t the only animals living the sweet life on South Dakota farms. Jamie and Brian Johnson raise chickens and Angus cattle on their soybean, corn and wheat farm in Frankfort. Chickens eat a diet of soybeans, corn and grains with added vitamins and minerals. This protein- and calcium-rich diet helps them laying healthy eggs for your favorite meals.

 

Boy smiling and holding chicken

 

Treating animals right means treating the land right, too. Pig farmers Peggy and Brad Greenway keep their pigs comfortable in a high-tech pen that ensures the animals have a constant flow of fresh air and are fed just enough fresh, nutritious feed. These advancements help them use the right amount of water, feed and land to keep their pigs healthy and reduce their environmental footprint. The Greenways aren’t the only pig farmers practicing sustainability. In the last 50 years, pig farmers have reduced their overall carbon footprint by 35 percent.

 

Woman with pigs in barn

 

At the end of the day, farmers appreciate having a best friend with them through it all. The farm wouldn’t be the same without the family dog. Spending time with their favorite pooch makes the work more enjoyable.

 

Man fist bumping dog

 

Farms just wouldn’t be the same without the animals that give us safe and healthy food. Find out more about how ranchers sustainably care for their cows with a visit to Shawn and Kristy Freeland’s home.

South Dakota Farmers Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

2017 is upon us, and it’s time to think about resolutions for the new year. For farmers, this is the time of year to make plans for the 2017 growing season. It’s a time to look back on what worked, what didn’t and how they can improve practices for coming year so they can provide healthy food from their farms to your plates. We caught up with some South Dakota farmers and asked, “What are your resolutions for 2017?”

Resolution 1: Improve farm practices.

“On the farm, we always strive to be better prepared and improve upon what we did in the past year. In the winter, farmers analyze data from the prior year and choose which seed varieties to plant, fertilizers to apply, and look at equipment and technology to use.” – Monica McCranie, farmer from Claremont
Resolution 2: Share the story of farming.
Peggy poses with her cattle in the field.

“I love talking to people on social media about my farm, so I plan to do that. People are always interested to learn where their food comes from. Any way we can connect is always a rewarding experience. My husband Brad was recently honored as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year and is chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. That means we will travel as much as ever this coming year to share our story with people around the country.” – Peggy Greenway, farmer from Mitchell

Resolution 3: Plant a pollinator habitat.

“In 2017, I hope to plant a pollinator habitat on several acres of my land. These habitats provide food and nesting resources for honey bees, butterflies and several other beneficial insects that help pollinate our crops and enhance insect biodiversity. It also builds and retains soil nutrients while reducing soil erosion and improving water quality. My goal is that the habitat will also encourage more birds and mammals in the area. As a farmer, I have tremendous respect for nature and want to do everything I can to assist with biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.” – Jerry Schmitz, farmer from Vermillion

Resolution 4: Analyze data.

Craig explains his plans for 2017 from the cab of his tractor.

 

“Every year around this time, we look at what we can do more efficiently in the next year. We monitor everything throughout the year, so I look at the soil tests I took last fall to help determine the precise amount of fertilizer I’ll need in 2017. We plan to spend more time walking through the fields and scouting for weeds, insects and diseases so we have a better picture of how the crops are doing as they grow. To help with those efforts, we also use satellite imagery to show us where there might be problems in the field. With some help from Mother Nature, I’m sure 2017 will be another successful year.” – Craig Converse, farmer from Brookings

Resolution 5: Connect with South Dakotans.

John Horter explains the importance of having conversations about food.

“In 2017, I plan to continue working closely with Hungry for Truth to have more conversations with fellow South Dakotans and answer any questions they have. I enjoyed meeting new people during the first two years of the initiative and learned a lot. It’s truly amazing to see the impact a 10-minute conversation can have on people to make that connection between food and farming.” – John Horter, farmer from Andover

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Share them with us in the comments.

 

How do farmers properly care for their animals?

“On our farm, animal care is the top priority,” says Peggy Greenway, farmer from Mitchell, South Dakota. She and her husband raise hogs and always look for ways to improve conditions for the animals on their farm. Watch the video to find out what big changes they made to improve the comfort of the animals on their farm.

With indoor facilities, farmers can better monitor animals’ health, keep them from harming each other and manage their diet more precisely. Also, sick animals can be kept separate from others. Housing situations for all livestock vary slightly depending on the species. Each species has their own needs, but warm, comfortable shelter is a priority for all farmers to ensure their animals’ health and safety.

Peggy says they are very pleased with their decision to the switch to indoor housing. When they kept their pigs outside, they spent a lot of time bedding them down with straw and cleaning pens out by hand. It was difficult to keep them dry and warm in the winter. When they are safe and comfortable indoors, Peggy knows they are providing the best care for their animals.

Read more from Peggy:

What South Dakota Farmers Love About Farming?

It’s the middle of February, and you know what that means. Love is in the air! Flowers! Chocolates! Fields? Tractors?

Farmers love what they do all year long, but this Valentine’s Day, we asked some local farmers to share the love and tell us what fills their hearts when it comes to farming. Here’s what they said:

 

Colin smiles with his wife on their South Dakota farm.

“I love all of the different individual jobs that make up farming because almost everyday I get to do something different! I love every year trying to figure out how to grow a bigger and better crop that is both safe and efficient.” – Colin Nachtigal, farmer from Harrold, S.D.

 

Amanda poses for a selfie with a piglet.

“I love farming because it is my favorite way to spend time with my loved ones. There is nothing more enjoyable than farming with your family. Growing up, I was responsible for helping take care of animals, which was my favorite responsibility. Working with calves and piglets, I developed a passion for animals and now I work with animals and farmers every single day.” – Amanda Eben, animal specialist from northwest Iowa

 

Dawn and her husband smile in front of a tractor on their farm.

 

“Farming is enjoyable because you plant the seeds and nurture them until harvest. I love working alongside my family to grow our crops. Most of us all want the same thing in life: good health, happiness and family.” – Dawn Scheier, farmer from Salem, S.D.

 

 

Morgan and her family among their soybean fields as their cattle peak from behind.

“What I love about farming is being able to share my passion with my husband every single day. I love being able to raise our children on the land we love and to instill in them the values of hard work and dedication that come with being a part of American agriculture.” – Morgan Kontz, farmer from Colman, S.D.

 

Peggy smiles with her husband and a piglet in front of their local farm.

“I love farming because I’m proud to be part of a wonderful team of people from a diverse industry that is responsible for growing, processing and providing nutritious, tasty and affordable food to consumers. Also, I enjoy the variety of things going on at our diversified farm, being able to work with my husband and getting to spend time outside.” – Peggy Greenway, farmer from Mitchell, S.D.

 

What do you love about farming or food? Share with us in the comments below.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part Three)

Peggy smiles for a photo in front of her cattle heard in South Dakota.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the  ground.

 Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

When it comes to crops, harvest is done, so we have some extra time to get to those projects we have been putting off for awhile. My husband and our employee do a lot of maintenance on buildings, fencing and equipment, making sure everything is in good shape for planting.

This is the time of year we also sit down with our agronomist and pick out which seeds to plant for the coming year. We have a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing seed. On our farm, we choose to plant GMO soybeans and corn. GMO crops have worked best on our farm over the years, and we appreciate the benefits they bring, like not having to spray insecticides and being able to use minimum-tillage. We usually buy seed from at least two or three different companies to see which seed works best on our land.

We’ve also been busy getting all of our bookwork up to date. Since farming is a business, we do a lot of bookkeeping for taxes and to track each enterprise of the farm. We also work with a farm business management program through our local technical institute. We keep very detailed records on each field and crop. This helps us know which fields are more productive and helps us make decisions on different types of seed. We also keep detailed records for the cattle and pigs. Just like every business, tracking expenses, income, and productivity in different areas is important to the health of our farm.

Winter is a time when things aren’t as hectic on the crop side, so we have the opportunity to sit down and think about our farming operation and make decisions for the upcoming year. However, when a farm like ours is diversified, with livestock and crops, we are busy every single day, and that’s what makes it fun! Though the way we care for our animals varies a little with the weather, we are working everyday to make sure they are comfortable and healthy.

Click the following links to catch PART ONE and TWO of Peggy’s series. Have questions for her? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part Two)

Peggy on her farm in South Dakota.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the ground.

Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

Our pigs are housed indoors in climate-controlled barns so they are comfortable and content all year round. We used to have our pigs outside in the winter and had to spend a lot of time bedding them down with straw and cleaning things out by hand. It was very difficult to keep them dry and warm during the winter. We’re pretty darn happy they’re indoors now and knowing they’re comfortable.

Because the pigs are comfortable, we don’t need to adjust anything in their feed to give them more energy to keep warm. However, We do change their rations about every other week for the six months they’re at our farm, adjusting for their dietary needs based on weight and age.

Click the following links to read PART ONE and PART THREE of Peggy’s series. Have questions for Peggy? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part One)

Peggy holds a piglet on her farm.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the ground.

Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

On our farm, we raise pigs and cattle, and we grow corn, soybeans and wheat. Though our active crop farming is done for the season, our livestock chores remain seven days a week, 365 days a year jobs.

We keep our cattle outdoors, so the winter weather makes a big difference. Their thick coat of hair keeps them comfortable, so since corn harvest, we’ve had our cows grazing out on corn stalks. The stalks provide nutrients, and the cattle’s manure provides fertilizer for our fields. We move them from field to field, bringing them closer to home as the temperatures decrease. When we have a big snowfall, like those nine inches we had earlier this year, we supplement their grazing with hay and silage. This gives them more energy to keep warm.

Although the cattle are out grazing all winter, we provide them with shelter from the cold and snow. The tree belts and four hoop barns close to our home protect them from the wind. For the most part, they’ll stay out and meander around the pasture. If the snow gets really deep, we might scrape some snow off a big area in the lot or pasture or lay down some straw to give them a dry place to lie down.

The calves from last year have been weaned since early October and we feed them in a large lot at another farm we rent. We sell those calves in January and another farmer will feed them out to market weight. We work with an animal nutritionist to make sure we feed our calves exactly what they need to keep them happy and healthy as they grow. That ration consists of ground hay, corn silage, modified wet distillers grain and some vitamins and minerals

When the cows start calving in late February, we keep them in the closest pasture to the farm or in the lots by the buildings for extra protection and so we can easily check on them several times a day.

If it’s really cold outside, we’ll warm the calves up and dry them off in the heated barn, and then they can go back outside with their moms where they have access to hoop barns for protection.

Click the following links to read PART TWO and THREE of Peggy’s series. Have questions for Peggy? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.